Posts tagged ‘adulthood’

February 17, 2014

How to make friends.

On my recent blogging course, during a discussion about networking, the discussion turned to making friends. In that context, we were talking about making friends with other bloggers —I’m going to write about that next week, but I’m also interested in making friends more generally.

But it’s hard to make friends as an adult, isn’t it?

As the school gate, I have two friends. Many of the other parents will nod a ‘hello’ but that’s as far as the relationships go. We attend the same meetings, parties and sports days but are merely acquaintances because of biology. Giving birth to a child at the same time does not automatically create friendships, I never found. I suspect much of this is because instead of going to antenatal class, I gave birth ten weeks’ early and so never had the chance to meet other prospective parents and make those early connections. Still, the two friends I do have, I made because we discovered that we have other things in common alongside children. A love of wine, for a start. And the same sense of humour. So although I’ve never made lots of friends through school, the ones I have are fab. Even though they keep bugging me to take up ceroc dancing…

My long term friends, from college and work, are scattered around the country— actually, the globe. We make plans to meet, but they’re often scuppered by poorly children, other responsibilities, work commitments. These are the friends I’ve had forever. You probably have some too. They’re the ones who know all about your first kiss, or who held your hair back when you were sick after one too many drinks at college. The ones you were with when you tried to tape the songs from the Top 40 without getting any of the DJ speaking on (showing my age, there) and pored over the latest issue of Smash Hits with.  The friends who you don’t need to see for months, but as soon as you catch up, it’s like you were never apart. Although those bonds are strong, the length of time between meetings leaves for huge gaps of time to be lonely in.

So, the answer has to be finding new friends. Not to replace those long term friendships but to add to them. More friends! These ones are the folk you can get the chance to grab a coffee with, or go to evening classes together, because they’re local. These friends are the ones who will stop you feeling lonely on a day-to-day basis. And possibly, one day, you’ll have known them forever too…

Here’s how I am finding friends:

1: Twitter. Leeds is a wonderful city in which to find people through Twitter. If you’re in Leeds, you should be following @peopleofLeeds, a rotation curation account. I’ve met some of my closest ‘tribe’ through Twitter; people who I consider to be some of the closest friends I’ll ever have the good fortune to have, plus a good number of other people who are less close, but lots of fun. I know that in many cases, we’ll never meet in real life, but they’re still true friendships. However, plucking up the courage to ask someone if they fancy meeting up for coffee has led to some genuine ‘real life’ friendships, so I’d tell you to go for it. Just make sure you arrange to meet somewhere public for the first time. 

2: Blogging. Through blogging, I’ve met some wonderful people, both locally and further afield. Getting invitations to events means I have to be brave and often turn up alone. A glass of wine or two later, I’m hopefully chatting to someone who may continue to be a friendly face. This year, I’m hoping to get to a blogging conference or two and meet some people that I’ve chatted to online for a while. I’m going to write more about blogging friendships next Monday.

3: Trying something new. By trying new things, even if they’re a challenge, I start to feel better about myself. Which, in turn, makes me happy. Happy people attract other people, I’m sure. And if all else fails, at least I’ve tried something different and so I’m living a fuller life.

4: Following my own interests, goals, desires and dreams. Sometimes, people come to you when you’re not actively looking for them. By following my own interests, I go to events, take courses, and join online and offline gatherings. Being in a place surrounded by people with the same passion as you, you’re very likely to be able to strike up a conversation, which sometimes leads to longer term friendships. Do what you love and the friends will come.

How do you make new friends? I’d love to chat about this with you all…

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Margot and Barbara is changing! I’d really appreciate your feedback. Click HERE to take part. Thank you 🙂

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September 14, 2012

Blythe

So, I promised you a post about something other than gardening. This is very different. In fact, I’ve been deliberating about whether to write about it at all, because it feels a bit confessional. Deep breath. Here goes…

The other day, something happened by accident. I bought a doll. For myself.

It started when I was on Ebay looking for a toy ‘Mack’ truck from the Disney film ‘Cars’, which is somewhat elusive as its not available in shops now.  I’ve been battling with folk up and down the country bidding for one on Ebay. Thankfully, finally, I managed to acquire one. It was totally worth it to see the look on my little boy’s face. He’d been asking for one for a very long time! Anyway, while I was pootling around Ebay (in the toy section, obviously) I came across this doll. Now, I’ve loved Blythe dolls for ages – ever since I saw an article about them and realised that the dolls illustrating the article were wearing Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci and Vivienne Westwood. Westwood, for heaven’s sake…

But then, as usual, things and life took over and although I had a passing love for the dolls, I did nothing about it. Until a few weeks ago. Have you ever been on the internet and found yourself overtaken by events and somehow shopping for stuff you never intended to buy? Usually for me, it’s holidays. I get carried away booking holidays online and shrug my shoulders when I think about how on earth I might pay for them. It’s always worked out, more or less.

This time, I ended up buying a doll. Usually, the dolls are imported from Asia, in particular Japan, where the Junie Moon store lives. This doll was a mere hop over the Pennines. And she was customised. And that was it. I loved her straight away and, armed with money from my savings account ( so, please, don’t let the boiler blow up any time soon), I bought her.

The reaction is interesting. Half of the people I know, including my daughter, love her. The other half, including my husband, are less enamoured. She freaks them out. Its the eyes. My husband is convinced she’s going to kill him in his sleep, which obviously amuses me no end. I’m just waiting for the opportunity to somehow move her across the room in the night and then wake him up by clutching him, asking ‘Did you see that? She moved…’

What I’ve realised since immersing myself in the world of Blythe is that the dolls are merely a conduit to many other things. People customise them, make clothes, take photos. There are so many Flickr accounts for Blythe, they’re probably half the content! She’s the ideal model, given that she’s super photogenic and doesn’t pull faces, unlike my kids.

You may think I’m too old to play with dolls. Perhaps I am. I’m also too old to be bullied or ashamed for it too though. Play, in all forms, isn’t just for kids. From computer games to model railways, football to dance, many of us have hobbies that are ‘play’, and why shouldn’t we? How many of you have wrestled the Lego from your kids, going ‘ no, no, you’re doing it wrong, let’s do it like this‘? Most of us would admit, that to a greater or lesser degree, that we feel as though we’re faking this whole ‘adulthood’ thing anyway, so I say, lets all just admit it, and play a bit more.

My post the other day contained three things. A gas bill. A letter from the dentist. And a tiny,beautiful hand-sewn dress, bought from Etsy and sent all the way from Australia. I don’t care how old you are, post from abroad is exciting. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with images of horrible happenings we can do nothing about, where we’re told there are no jobs, everything is doom and gloom and there is seemingly no light at the end of the tunnel, a little escapism in the form of play is exactly what is needed.

Play: not just for kids…